Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

More Than Just a Seat

Recovery Curriculum Resources from Leeds Museum and Galleries

This resource is designed to support a recovery curriculum and can be used in any education setting. It complements the ‘Supporting the Return to School for All Pupils’ guidance in Leeds and the PACE approach of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy.



The chairs shown in this resource are on display at Lotherton Hall museum. They are made by different makers and designers. Look at these chairs below, how might it feel to sit in them? What might you do whilst sitting on them?

Look for the natural patterns and materials in each chair.

Straight backed chair with no sides. Padded seat and back, completely covered in embroidery with a design of flowers
Needlework Decorated Chair


Are chairs just for sitting down on? Can you think of other uses for a chair? To make a den; to play musical chairs; chairs for sleeping; chairs for eating; chairs for stargazing! What playful and safe things could your class do with their chairs?


Tall, narrow chair carved all over with designs including lions, leaves and a human-looking face.
Carved Oak Chair from 1880 - 1910

Acceptance / Empathy



We spend a lot of our day sitting down on a chair. Some chairs can be comfortable and some chairs can be uncomfortable! Explore themes of comfort and what makes us feel comfy and happy.



This short five-minute mindful breathing activity can get you started.

  • Sit on your chair so you are comfortable and safe
  • Play some relaxing meditating music in the background or use some percussion instruments like bells and cymbals.
  • Practice ‘slow breathing’ - breathing in to the count of three and breathing out to the count of three
  • Think about where to place your hands. On your tummy watch your hands move up and down with slow breaths. Or hold your hands as if cupping a balloon, the balloon expands and your hands move out as you breathe in and back down as you breathe out.


Colour photograph of a chair made from two pieces of wood. It is reclined and has only three legs - two at the front and one at the back
Astronomer's Chair


Did you know chair design is an art form? Look up different chair designs in history or chair designers. Some well-known furniture designers include: Thomas Chippendale, Charles and Ray Eames, Zaha Hadid, Philippe Starck, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and John Makepeace.

Chair carved from wood, with whole sections removed. It is decorated with a  gold colour trim and a rich wine red fabric to the seat and back
Chair Designed by Pugin in 1828


Design your classroom chair. What materials would it be made from? Would it have any extra gadgets? How big would it be? Use labels to describe how your chair works.

Pupils can present their designs to each other and give positive feedback on what they like. Will they choose a winning design or combine their favourite ideas? Can you challenge your class to then make the best classroom chair or even turn it into a whole school competition?

Wooden chair with two front legs and a prism shaped piece of wood forming the seat and the back legs.
Chair Designed by Fred Baier